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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/The First Walpurgis-Night

< The Works of J. W. von Goethe‎ | Volume 9

THE FIRST WALPURGIS - NIGHT.

A DRUID.

Sweet smiles the May!
The forest gay
From frost and ice is freed;
No snow is found,
Glad songs resound
Across the verdant mead.
Upon the height
The snow lies light,
Yet thither now we go,
There to extol our Father's name,
Whom we for ages know.
Amid the smoke shall gleam the flame;
Thus pure the heart will grow.

THE DRUIDS.

Amid the smoke shall gleam the flame;
Extol we now our Father's name,
Whom we for ages know!
Up, up, then, let us go!

ONE OF THE PEOPLE.

Would ye, then, so rashly act?
Would ye instant death attract?
Know ye not the cruel threats
Of the victors we obey?
Round about are placed their nets
In the sinful heathen's way.
Ah! upon the lofty wall
Wife and children slaughter they;
And we all
Hasten to a certain fall.

CHORUS OF WOMEN.

Ay, upon the camp's high wall
All our children loved they slay.
Ah, what cruel victors they!
And we all
Hasten to a certain fall.

A DRUID.

Who fears to-day
His rites to pay,
Deserves his chains to wear.
The forest's free!
This wood take we,
And straight a pile prepare!
Yet in the wood
To stay 'tis good
By day till all is still,
With watchers all around us placed
Protecting you from ill.
With courage fresh, then, let us haste
Our duties to fulfil.

CHORUS OF WATCHERS.

Ye valiant watchers now divide
Your numbers through the forest wide,
And see that all is still.
While they their rites fulfil.

A WATCHER.

Let us in a cunning wise,
Yon dull Christian priests surprise!
With the devil of their talk
We'll those very priests confound.
Come with prong and come with fork,
Raise a wild and rattling sound
Through the livelong night, and prowl
All the rocky passes round.
Screech-owl, owl,
Join in chorus with our howl!

CHOEUS OF WATCHERS.

Come with prong, and come with fork,
Like the devil of their talk,
And with wildly ratthng sound,
Prowl the desert rocks around!
Screech-owl, owl,
Join in chorus with our howl!

A DRUID.

Thus far 'tis right,
That we by night
Our Father's praises sing;
Yet when 'tis day,
To Thee we may
A heart unsullied bring.
'Tis true that now.
And often, Thou
Favourest the foe in fight.
As from the smoke is freed the blaze,
So let our faith burn bright!
And if they crush our olden ways,
Who e'er can crush Thy light?

A CHRISTIAN WATCHER.

Comrades, quick! your aid afford!
All the brood of hell's abroad:
See how their enchanted forms
Through and through with flames are glowing!
Dragon-women, men-wolf swarms,
On in quick succession going!
Let us, let us haste to fly!
Wilder yet the sounds are growing,
And the arch fiend roars on high;
From the ground
Hellish vapours rise around.

CHORUS OF CHRISTIAN WATCHERS.

Terrible enchanted forms,
Dragon-women, men-wolf swarms!
Wilder yet the sounds are growing!
See, the arch fiend comes, all-glowing!
From the ground
Hellish vapours rise around.

CHORUS OF DRUIDS.

As from the smoke is freed the blaze,
So let our faith burn bright!
And if they crush our olden ways,
Whoe'er can crush Thy light?